Hong Kong Visas Made Easy


Dec 2018

Business Review – The Sword of Damocles for Successful Hong Kong Investment Visa Applicants

Posted by / in Investment Visas, Musing / 1 response

If your investment visa has been approved but the Hong Kong Immigration Department believe your application was marginal, you can expect your visa to be subject to Business Review the first time that it comes up for extension.

This works as follows:

  1. During your original application the HKID may not have been completely persuaded of the merits of your case but did feel that it was worthy or at least ‘a try’.
  2. Consequently they grant your investment visa subject to  complete review of your business activity at the 12 month marker when your limit of stay is coming up for renewal.
  3. About one week after you have filed your application for an extension, the HKID will write to you asking for a variety of documentation indicating  just how your business has performed over the course of the previous 12 months.
  4. At the very least you can expect to be asked to supply a set of up to date financial accounts, details of staff employed (including copies of the MPF contributions made), office tenancy arrangements and proofs of business.

If your business has gone reasonably well (mostly according to plan, say) then the Business Review process is nothing to fear and you can expect that this will be the only time the HKID will ever submit your business to review at the time you apply for your investment visa extension .

However, if you are manifestly struggling on, it could take 1-2 months for the extension process to play itself out and you may find yourself with an extension that is once again subject to Business Review at the end of the next 12 months.

That’s the bad news.

The good news, is that, in almost 20 years of undertaking Hong Kong visa and immigration work, I have never seen the HKID pull the rug from under a business investment visa holder at Business Review if he or she is genuinely working on the business and attempting to make good on the plan,.

So there’s nothing to worry about so long as you ARE trying your darndest in your business.

It just makes for some sleepless nights.

More Stuff to Help You Along

Hong Kong investment visa processing times – current residents much, much (much!) faster than non residents

10 Must Have resources for a successful Hong Kong investments visa application

Freelance consulting in Hong Kong – can you get a visa?

Statistically – what are the chances of your Hong Kong investment visa being approved?

How is the Hong Kong investment visa process typically experienced by the foreign national entrepreneur?

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Dec 2018

Hong Kong Business Investment Visas – the Catch 22 for Foreign National Entrepreneurs

Posted by / in Investment Visas, Musing / 3 responses


There are 2 pathways you can follow to apply for a business investment visa for Hong Kong.

1. You can be in Hong Kong as either as resident or a visitor seeking to adjust your immigration status to join in an existing, or establish a new, business; or

2. You can apply prospectively for an investment visa before you ever set foot in the HKSAR (in a manner of speaking).

Both pathways are ‘do-able’ although each carry peculiarities in the process to approval – and have advantages and disadvantages – which I do not propose to discuss in this post.

I’ll cover these in detail elsewhere in this Blog.

The Catch 22, ever present in all investment visa application submitted ‘in country’ refers to pathway 1.

It goes like this:

You cannot join in a business until the consent of the HKID is secured.

You can’t secure the consent of the HKID without showing contribution to Hong Kong.

You can’t show contribution to Hong Kong without joining in a business

You cannot join in a business until the consent of the HKID is secured!

This effectively means that the requirements of the Hong Kong Immigration Department to demonstrate your ability to satisfy the investment visa approvability test effectively anticipate you’ll be engaging in activity in your business that is not covered by your current immigration status – as you have not yet been issued your investment visa!

The Immigration Department is very well aware of this conundrum and are pragmatic in their work around.

In essence, if you have made an application for a business investment visa they will close their eyes to the technical breach of conditions of stay inherent in running a new business prior to having your business investor visa approved.

The risk lies in not having an application in the system.

So in order to protect yourself from the risk of prosecution, you need to empower the HKID to take an early view of your activities and apply for your business investment visa right at the very outset, of your commercial endeavours, not later on after ‘it’s all moving forward’.

More Stuff to Help You Along

Hong Kong investment visas – what’s involved?

Is it better to apply for your visa before or after you have arrived in Hong Kong?

How to ensure you are not breaking the law by operating a business as a visitor in Hong Kong?

The reality behind the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s stated ‘4 weeks’ case consideration time frame

The challenge of visa approvability for freelance writers and reporters in Hong Kong

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Dec 2018

Can I Employ Myself by Getting a Hong Kong Business Investment Visa?

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Investment Visas, Your Question Answered / 13 responses

This is a typical question about what is really a Hong Kong business investment visa application – but most often people don’t know, understandably enough, how to couch it…


First Published April 21, 2012




I’m interested in getting HK residence permit (working visa). Please advise what’s the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to do it.

My idea is to register Hong Kong based company and who will hire myself as a director.

Am I able to be self-employed expat in HK or it’s wise to use nominee shareholder services?

What are the minimal salary criteria in my case?

How long will it take?”


I’m afraid there is no easy, fast or cheap way to secure Hong Kong residency on the basis you are mooting. Please find the following collection of resources covering this subject:

One man businesses


Idea of self-sponsorship and use of nominees.


Newcomer’s guide to employment visas in Hong Kong


Please also see the Investment Visa Information sheet on the Hong Kong Visa Handbook.

And this Case Study which speaks to one businesses and how we eventually got their visas approved.


“Many thanks for your prompt reply, useful links and awesome infographics. It’s getting much more clear now.

Well, I’m definitely not planning to invest HK$10M in the next some yeas to get an Investments visa. Because I’m just not able to do this.

You’re saying that it’s not a good idea to use nominee shareholders because HK immigration authorities might discover this fact and it will take a lot of efforts to approve this new company as a valid sponsor.

So for now it seems (please correct me if I’m not right) that cheapest and easiest way to get HK RP for me is to:

– find a local sponsor, private person, or

– get a job in an existing company

Regarding sponsor, I have a friend in HK who is probably able to be my sponsor (using my own funds).

But getting a job seems to be an easiest solution so far.

I believe there are some companies known to the HKID that you might also know who are stable enough and can hire me as employee and start paying me salary (using my own funds). I hope that you can recommend me this kind of company, probably one of your customers can help me.

I’m well known in my industry (internet technology) as a noted professional (proper references from worldwide known companies could be provided) so I assume that there is a chance for me to be be admitted as qualified migrant.

As an example, my Italian residence permit is based on ‘high skilled migrants’ immigration program, so most of the documents confirming my skills are ok and we can try use them in future in HK.

Please let me know if I understand everything in a proper way and we can proceed somehow.”


Unless you have a pre-existing consulting business overseas which you intend to ‘relocate’ to Hong Kong and support that relocation with resources to pass the investment visa approvability test (as detailed on the Visa Information PDF I sent you previously) the only option will be for you to secure a genuine job  offer in Hong Kong from an independent third party employer and in the context of that job offer pass the employment visa approvability test as detailed here.

There is no option of having a Hong Kong resident,  in his private capacity, of sponsoring you for residence permissions in Hong Kong unless you are legal family.

You can find information on the Quality Migrant Scheme here. In my experience, unless you have at least 125 points, you’re unlikely to get in the running for an eventual approval – but you will never know if you don’t try.

One final point.

What you are proposing about using your own funds to contrive an employment would involve you making misrepresentations to the Hong Kong Immigration Department on the part of the ‘employer’, yourself and my firm.

This is illegal and neither my firm nor I will play any part in such a scheme and I urge you to readjust your expectations as to how to go about becoming a lawful Hong Kong resident.

As I have stated, there is no easy, fast or cheap way to secure residence in the HKSAR. There only the legal way.

I trust this advice guides you accordingly.

More Stuff You Might Find Useful

10 Must Have resources for any Hong Kong investment visa application

Is it actually getting harder to get a Hong Kong investment visa application approved?

I have a socially advantageous yet modestly capitalised business plan – can I get an investment visa for Hong Kong?

Why internet forums are a cr@p source of Hong Kong visa and immigration advice

But Stephen, how do you make any money if you give away all of your Hong Kong visa expertise away for free?

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Dec 2018

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Dec 2018

Will One Month As A Visitor Between Residence Visas Break My Continuity of Residence for the Right of Abode in Hong Kong?

Posted by / in Long Stay & PR, Your Question Answered / No responses

First Published On June 20, 2013

This question raises its head in many different guises but this is the first time that anyone has asked it in such a pointed way in the context of training visas – so I’m pleased to be able to shed some light!



Great that you provide this service!

I have a question.

I am currently on a 1 year training visa (expiring 30 June). I do not yet have another job offer lined up. I am currently interviewing for other employers, but things are slow.

It is likely that I will need to leave Hong Kong just before the expiry and then re-enter on a tourist visa.

My question is – if my visa expires on 30th June (with no new job offer or sponsor lined up by this time) but I get a job offer in say in mid-July….will the month or so spent in Hong Kong on a tourist visa count against me in obtaining the ‘7 years’ to acquire PR?

Will the clock be reset to zero if I am on a tourist visa, even for just a month or two?

Many thanks for answering!


Typically if you find yourself in Hong Kong between residences visas, the only immigration status that tends to be available to you as you move from one period of residency into another period of residency, is a visitor visa.

And this question really gets to the heart of the possibility of any time spent in Hong Kong between residence visa periods of stay spent as a visitor, will that time spent as a visitor break your continuity of residence for the eventual right of abode application seven years down the road.

Well the bottom line is that, if you move through from one residence visa through to another residence visa, as long as the time spent in Hong Kong as a visitor results from a state of what I’ve termed ‘administrative flux’, where it can be objectively said that you haven’t abandoned your residency in Hong Kong, whilst you attempt to reorganize your life circumstances so that you can re-establish yourself with a residence visa once again. As long as any time in Hong Kong spent as a visitor is between residence visas in a state of administrative flux then, in my experience, Immigration Department do not hold that time spent as a visitor against you, allowing you to break your continuity avoiding residence, unless it’s for a manifestly long period of time all things considered.

So in your situation, if you’ve been here as a training visa holder for a year, with the expectation on a training visa by the way, that you’re going to leave Hong Kong once your period of training is up, that you’ve been allowed to remain in Hong Kong to complete that training and take the value associated with that training back to your home country. Given that the training visa regime anticipates a return back to your home country, if you’ve now subsequently determined that you wish to remain in Hong Kong, you’re going to leave the employee engagement to the party that is extending the training to you and then seek to join the local workforce, whilst it’s certainly possible for you to go out and find alternative employer, submit and application to adjust your status from visitor through to employment and thereby getting a new residence visa again.

If you find that’s several months are passing, in the interim before you’re able to secure a job offer and get  to a residence visa again, it is possible after two or three months possibly even more, that your continuity of ordinarily residence will be broken in your circumstances simply because you came to Hong Kong temporarily in pursuit of training, effectively made an undertaking at the end of that 12 months that you would leave Hong Kong. If you decide to adjust your status, to apply to adjust your status through to employment once again, then that application is expected to kind of occur immediately, consecutive to your previous residence visa situation. And as I said, the longer you leave it and the longer you stay in Hong Kong as a visitor, the more likely the Immigration Department will hold it against you hard and fast come the seven year mark.

So get your skates on, basically that’s what I’m saying and don’t anticipate that anything longer than three possibly four months will hold you in good stead because in my experience, in your situation with only one year prior residence on a training visa, I suspect the Immigration Department might conclude that the time spent as a visitor in the wake of your expiry of your training visa could have broken your continuity of ordinarily residence.

Ok, I hope that helps.

More Stuff You May Find Interesting or Useful

Is There Such An Animal As A ” Flexible Working Visa ” for Hong Kong?

Long Term Business Visit to Hong Kong – Do I Need an Employment Visa?

I’ve lost my job. What about my employment visa – will I get kicked out of Hong Kong?

10 Must Have resources for a successful Hong Kong permanent residency application

Will I still qualify for the right of abode if I worked temporarily in Macau yet lived in Hong Kong for the full 7 years?


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Dec 2018

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Nov 2018

Hong Kong’s Not Got Talents – Visa Geeza on RTHK Backchat – November 21, 2018

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Feature Article, Musing / No responses

November 21, 2018

Visa Geeza on RTHK Backchat  –  Hong Kong’s Not Got Talents

Last Wednesday I was invited to participate in a discussion entitled Hong Kong’s Not Got Talents on RTHK Radio 3 ‘s Backchat show hosted by Hugh Chiverton and Jenny Lam.

My fellow contributors were Mark Michelson, Chairman CEO Forum, IMA Asia; Kerry Wong, VP Greater China of a HR firm and Anthony Au, Honorary President of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation.

It was an all round robust discussion focused on  a recent news report denoting that Switzerland was the best locale for nurturing and promoting home grown talent, leaving Hong Kong far behind in its wake.

You can listen to the session below and the Backchat Facebook page can be found here.



More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

How to apply for a Hong Kong investment visa without any professional help!

What do both Hong Kong employment and investment visa applications share in common?

The reality behind the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s “4 weeks” application consideration time frame

How is the Hong Kong investment visa process typically experienced by the foreign national visa applicant?

How important is the support of InvestHK in your Hong Kong investment visa application?

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